Where did that come from?

I don’t know when this week became the week to push and to prove myself. But apparently it did.

I should have got out running last night, but I was knackered after work, so I did what any brave and stout young fellow would have done: gave up on the idea and went to bed early.

This morning, though, feeling fresh as a daisy and clearly a bit guilty about not doing 5K last night, I trotted out onto the Portway for my usual weekend plod. But during the warmup, probably only a few minutes in to Dire Straits’ Telegraph Road — great music for pushing yourself up Bridge Valley Road to, by the way — I decided to make up for last night’s lost distance.

So, doing a bit of quick geographical planning in my head, I took the route that got me through 8K the other weekend, and added an extra loop of Durdham Down to it.

And here’s the result:

Yup. 10K. Or, as I heard it in my head when I finished — and you’ll have to pardon my French — “ten fucking kilometres”.

In fact, a little bit more than that, as I was so close to my normal finish point when I’d completed 10K exactly that I decided to push on and do the extra few hundred metres, just to get to the lamp post outside the Avon Gorge Hotel that I traditionally slap to mark the end of my long runs.

And I’m faster than I figured I would be, too, especially considering I started off with the usual big hill. Looking at it, I think I came in comfortably under an hour and a quarter for the 10K. Nice.

Anyway, I’m a bit hungry now, for some reason, so it’s time to demolish the baguette and fruity flapjack I just bought from Chandos Deli…

I think I should probably give myself another couple of days off now, so I’ll probably catch up with you again on Monday 🙂

Accidental Progress

This morning I had a bit of an accident.

My general plan was to skip the running last night, and instead go out this morning, as I’ve found my last few Saturdays have been low-energy, wasted days, and I thought I’d see if starting with a run would help pick me up a bit.

So, I went out, starting along the same route as last weekend, up Bridge Valley Road, and along Ladies Mile to loop around the Downs.

After last week, I figured I should see if I could add an extra little bit to the run to see if I could make it up to seven kilometres, so I hooked a little extra bit onto my run, turning right at the Water Tower and circling the top bit of Durdham Down as well.

Only it turned out that I’m not that hot at judging distances on maps. By the time I’d passed the Sea Wall and got halfway back to Clifton Village, I was definitely feeling it. It wasn’t so bad that I needed to stop, but my energy levels seemed unusually low. And then I checked my distance, and I’d already done seven kilometres!

I kept on pounding on — quite slowly in places, like the steepish hill up to the Observatory, but still just putting one foot in front of the other fast enough to count as jogging — and got all the way to my usual ultimate destination, Princess Victoria Street, home of Coffee #1 and some of the best vanilla latte in Bristol.

And it turned out I’d done my longest run by far. I managed more than 8km — checking the map and stats on RunKeeper, and knocking 5 minutes and 0.34km off for the walking warm-up, I did 8.36km in one hour and three minutes. Considering that included Bridge Valley Road, and totalled 184m of vertical climbing, according to RunKeeper, I think that’s pretty good, about 7.5 minutes per kilometre pace.

It also means that I’m pretty damn certain I could do 10km on a flat route with very little problem 🙂 But I don’t think I’m going to try that any time soon, going up to 8km was enough of a jump for the time being!

Anyway. My public thanks to Radio 4’s News Quiz, on podcast, for keeping me going up Bridge Valley Road, and Speech Debelle for covering the rest of the journey 🙂

Ups and the Downs

Fantastic run today. I got an extra hour in bed because of the end of British Summer Time, which was a good start. Then I headed out to jog up Bridge Valley Road and around the Downs.

I kept to a nice, steady pace — as you can see from the RunKeeper map/log/stats — and did the first half of the Downs, up to the Water Tower, as usual.

On the way back, though, I decided not to let the normal path force me back onto the street at a pedestrian crossing, but instead went hunting on the Downs for a path that keeps you on the grass a bit longer.

I figured this was safe enough, navigationally — I’d just keep going until there was a huge cliff, then turn left. As it turned out, this is pretty much exactly what happened, hence the photo above. I took this from next to a bunch of guys with telescopes and binoculars who were looking out for peregrine falcons, who apparently nest around there. Cool!

This way back was a lot nicer than my previous road path, so when I’ve got enough daylight to do it, it’s the way I’m going to go. It also added a bit to the distance, so today I managed 6K, not bad for a route that starts with an 80 metre climb. And it felt just fine, all the way around!

Right. Time for a shower! Catch you later in the week 🙂

Coffee Shop Run

I just nipped out for a coffee in Clifton Village. But I went the long way round, as you can see here 🙂

This run includes a 5‑minute walking warm-up at the start. So, just did a shade over 5km in about 40 minutes, including Bridge Valley Road.

IMG_0341.jpgThis picture gives an idea of what that involves. I took it from the Suspension Bridge, after I’d collected my reward, an espresso frappé from Coffee #1.

The cars on the road at the bottom of the picture are driving along the Portway, where I start my run. The high point of the run is about 10 metres higher than the point I took the picture from. So, that’s quite a lot of uphill 🙂

Anyway. Keeping it short and sweet today, as I’ve got a lot to do this weekend! Have a good one, folks; I’ll probably be blogging again on Monday!

Well, That Was Easier Than I Thought It Would Be

Wow! I just ran up Bridge Valley Road.

Well, I say “ran”; actual runners might take issue. But it was a definite jog, at least. I’d dug around for advice on teh intarwebs, and basically just started off the hill nice and slowly, with a shorter pace than my on-the-flat running. And I kept it slow and steady, and I just kept on going. All the way up Bridge Valley Road, from the Portway by the river to the height of the Suspension Bridge.

And then I just kept on going. The path I chose initially turned out not to be lit, damn it, so I plugged carefully away on that until I saw a chance to turn and head for the glowier Clifton residential area, which turned out to be about my halfway point anyway.

IMG_0327.jpgThen I jogged through Clifton, back down to Hotwells, and home. I stopped to take this photo of the Suspension Bridge (forgive the blurriness; the iPhone did a valiant job, but this was handheld in the dark), but apart from that I just kept on jogging. Given the warm-up at the beginning and a shorter warm-down at the end, I’d guess I ran a tad under 5km.

And I could have carried on. This is quite gratifying; it’s going to be a lot easier to get better at hills if I can actually run all the way up a decent one right now, albeit slowly. And it puts the Downs within my reach, with enough energy to do a half-decent loop while I’m up there.

Now all I’ve got to do is figure out which paths are actually lit at night! Might do a bit of digging with Google Streetview before I head out again…

Uphill Struggle

Just a quick check-in: I’m still alive.

My run today was a bit rubbish — I’d forgotten that bit of the A4 Portway between me and my target hill, Bridge Valley Road, was closed all day today. They’re doing rockface safety checks, basically making sure that no falling rocks are likely to kill any pedestrians or knock any cars into the river.

So, I got as far as the “footpath closed” sign and had to turn around. Instead, I tried to head pretty much straight from my place up to Clifton Village, which is a fair bit steeper, I think.

My route ended up looking like this on RunKeeper.com. Note the elevation graph — 80 metres upwards in about a kilometre.

I couldn’t keep going for long. I had to stop a couple of times for a rest, once to walk, once to stop completely and get my breath back for a couple of minutes.

So, I definitely need more practice on hills. But hey, it was pretty nice once I got up there, so I really want to get to the stage where I can run all the way up to the Downs and still have enough breath left to jog around them.

I think I’m just going to have to stick to my plan to run up Bridge Valley Road — making sure it’s actually open first — and try to get a little further up it without stopping every time. I figure the only way to get better at hills is just to keep on trying!